Garden Photo of the Day

A followup on the heavenly hell strip

Click to enlarge.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

Remember back in May when I posted about the beautiful hell strip I pass on my way to work each day? Refresh your memory here. Back then it was filled with beautiful purple and white tulips, and I marveled at the people who so lovingly tend this hot, baking bed each season. You all agreed that it’s wonderful.

Click to enlarge.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

Well, now I have an update! Soon after that post, I passed one day when there was someone working on it! The gardener I spoke to Jen Schilkowski, who happens to be the person who designs this bed every year, and she was excited to find out that we’d featured her work. Jen works for the Maywood Estate in Bridgewater, Connecticut. The owner of the Maywood Estate owns this little shopping center and the Bridgewater Village Store, and loves beautifying it for the community. At the time, Jen was yanking out the tulips, making way for the next show.

Click to enlarge.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

A few days later I stopped by again to witness the new plantings going in and got to meet a few more Maywood gardeners. Fun! I waited a few weeks for this planting to fill in, and this is what it looks like now. Enjoy! Oh, and by the way… They do not use any chemicals on this bed. All biological pest control. Nice, huh?

Click to enlarge.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Click to enlarge.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Click to enlarge.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Click to enlarge.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Click to enlarge.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais


Welcome to the Fine Gardening GARDEN PHOTO OF THE DAY blog! Every weekday we post a new photo of a great garden, a spectacular plant, a stunning plant combination, or any number of other subjects. Think of it as your morning jolt of green.

Sign up to get new posts delivered to your inbox each morning so you’ll always remember to take a look, or subscribe to our RSS feed. We look forward to sharing our garden travels with you.

R E A D E R   P H O T O S: We love featuring your photos, too. If you think you have a photo that we should share on the Garden Photo of the day, email us. Send hi-res images if possible. We’ll only respond if we plan to use your photo.

View Comments


  1. TanyaE 08/01/2011

    Great work! It makes all the difference in how people feel who pass by and shop in towns that CARE! T. LaPorte

  2. user-7006911 08/01/2011

    Fantastic plant combos. Can anyone identify the tall plants?

  3. Joyce70 08/01/2011

    What pleasure to give to the community. I always appreciate seeing flower gardens and also appreciate all the extra effort.

  4. user-7006885 08/01/2011

    This really is a nice little oasis right there by the street.

    The tall purple plants are most likely verbena bonariensis. They make a nice bouncy, gauzy filler all summer long.

  5. JTitus 08/01/2011

    We are the first house in our subdivision and we have a median at the entrance. My husband cuts it but it is mostly weeds and the ground is rock hard. I have planted some lilies there but if I had the money I would love to do something like this. It is absolutely beautiful. Hats off to those who tend these beautiful beds.

  6. Tate85 08/01/2011

    The tallest, purple plant is verbena bonariensis, for sure. The one that slightly shorter, with wine red flowers, reminds me of salvia but I can't be certain about this one.

  7. user-7006900 08/01/2011

    That is great. So nice to have people who like to make the world beautiful.

  8. greatdanes 08/01/2011

    How wonderful!. Can anyone tell me what the dark leaved plants in the center are?

  9. kayneff 08/02/2011

    The dark-leaved plants are dahlias. I think the taller red flowers may be some type of penstemon. What a lovely display it all makes!

  10. ErikaM 08/02/2011

    I was so excited to see this update to your earlier posting about this. What an exciting difference they are making to the community. And here is a related posting in today's paper. It is a terrific trend!

  11. riverain 08/03/2011

    This is great and lovely! I've been mulling over planting my hellstrip for a while, but unsure what to do that the city won't complain about... I've discovered my little city is very authoritarian. They threatened to dig up two small locally native spice bushes I planted at the back of my property (they thought it was on their parkland, when it was on my land), but yet they won't do anything about the invasive weeds in the park (that have invaded my yard and those of my neighbors) and even commented that some people like the way they feel when they step on them. They put up signs saying they aren't going to mow some areas along roadways because it's better for the environment... but then continue to seed with plain grass in new areas! I wish more cities would get a clue. Anyone who has ever seen the wildflowers along the Texas highways in spring will know that Lady Bird Johnson was on to something long ago...

  12. mtrecost 08/04/2011

    why is it called a "hell strip"? It's definately gorgeous.

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